Villa Beatrice d’Este is named after Saint Beatrice d’Este. The higlight here is the panorama: simply a marvel! But first, a short history for who’s iterested.
Born noble, Beatrice led a comfortable life at court where she was appreciated for her beauty and her good character. The war between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines, however, torn Beatrice from her carefree life. Within a few years she lost in fact father, brother and sister, and the family became covered with debts. As a result she decided to dedicate herself to prayer and monastic life.
The Bishop of Padua donated to her the former male monastery on Mount Gemola. She restored the builiding and then founded a new Benedictine women’s community. Many other noblewomen followed her example. The life they led was of penance, prayer and fasting. After a few years Beatrice became ill with tuberculosis and died here at age 34, in 1226. The monastery closed in 1578. A Venetian merchant purchased the complex in the mid-seventeenth century and then transformed it into a holiday residence.
Beatrice was beatified in 1763. In 1957 her remains were transferred to the Cathedral of Este. The villa is now property of the province of Padova and hosts a Nature Museum.
Villa Beatrice d’Este – My experience
I went here on a Sunday afternoon with my husband. We were in the near village to attend a sagra (local festival) when we spotted a sign indicating Villa Beatrice d’Este. Since we were curious, we followed the sign. And I am really happy we took this detour.
I had no idea of the beauty of this place. Following the directions we reached a parking lot (the street to reach it is at some point very narrow!). From there you can go on foot (and the view on vineyards and hills is already noteworthy). The interior of the villa houses a small museum regarding the local flora and fauna. It can be interesting for kids… but also a bit disturbing for someone because it mostly consists of stuffed animals and even some snakes preserved in glass jars… Ew! So you decide!
Most noteworthy is the view: spectacular. It ‘a real paradise. Birds chirping, a gentle breeze, the hills all around.
At the ticket office there are a coffee machine and vending machines for drinks and gelato. You can sit outside in the shade of the trees, on chairs, benches or on the large lawn admiring the panorama that spans the hills all around. Magnificent! I would go back there immediately! Remember to chose a clear day and to go beyond the garden on the right of the ticket office (another panorama awaits you – you can see it on the last photo. While below there’s the view in front of the villa).
I’m totally skeptic about the following anecdotes but nevertheless: Did you know that…
- In 1400 Pellegrino Prisciani, counsellor to Duke Ercole d’Este, in his book Historia Ferrariae describes the moment when the tomb of Beatrice was opened with these words: “She was lying on the left side, whereas before she was lying on the right side. The body was still intact was drenched in sweat.” It seems that this curious exudation phenomenon continued during the following centuries. Some sources narrate that, during the plague of 1631 the infected persons used this liquid to heal.
- The Saint is often depicted with a dove because a few days before her death a dove flew before her, stared at her and fled away, as an omen.
- Another source tells of an attempted theft of her relics by Spanish soldiers during the War of the League of Cambrai against Venice in 1509. The soldiers tried to open a box, but a wooden statue of Jesus came to life frightening the thieves, who run away.
In conclusion, I really loved this place and I’d like to go there again because it was really peaceful and the view was superb. And most of all I felt close to nature. Simply wonderful. So I suggest not to miss it if you’re nearby.
Villa Beatrice d’Este
Via M. Gemola, Baone (PD)
4 € – Reduced 2 €
1st and 3rd Sunday of the month: 10 am – 6 pm
Mon – Sat by appointment for groups and schools (minimum 10 people)
Outdoor (April – July)
Wednesday 3 -7 pm
Thursday and Friday 9 am – 7 pm
Saturday and Sunday 10 am – 7 pm
For reservations and information: 0039 049 8910189 firstname.lastname@example.org